Emma Steinbrecher makes her author debut with the high fantasy duology A Clan of Wolves.
A Clan of Wolves begins the story with Ingrid – a powerful witch in hiding – alone in a destroyed house. With no friends and family, Ingrid must fend for herself.
There was no other motivation out in those woods. There was nothing to live for other than the fear of death.a clan of wolves
When she encounters and is captured by a clan of wolves, lessons in love, life, and loss abound. After a series of events lead her and the clan leader Cason to fall for each other, Ingrid is received with mixed feelings from Cason’s crew. Together, they formulate a plan to take down a power-hungry witch – who happens to be Ingrid’s aunt.
In A House of Witches, Cason and Ingrid must deal with the aftermath of their failed attempt to assassinate Izina, an Overseer of the witch houses. Their friend Sophie makes the ultimate sacrifice by exchanging her shifting ability for assistance from the goddess Artemis. Eventually, Ingrid and Cason also team up with witches from the Dark House and the Fire House to try to finish Izina once and for all.
Above it all, Ingrid’s life is at steak no matter what. In A Clan of Wolves, Ingrid and Cason are imprisoned in Izina’s dungeon, so Ingrid makes a deal with the dead souls trapped there that she will kill Izina, but if she doesn’t before two months’ time, the souls will claim her. How do you know what choices to make when your life is on the line?
A Clan of Wolves and A House of Witches are told from a multi-POV perspective. The characters are passionate and eager, and the secondary characters’ chapters add to the world-building.
Ingrid’s memories bring depth to her character; she is in a dark place mentally and emotionally. With Cason’s support, she is able to grow into her power and make a new life for herself.
Death is the huntress that prowls under the light of the moon, seeking souls to claim and devour. Death is the whispering voices that echo through the night, begging witches to answer the call.a house of witches
I first saw Emma Steinbrecher on a social media platform and was drawn to the duology’s book covers. After learning about the animosity between the wolf-shifters and witches, I was eager to see if the two groups could form some kind of alliance.
Full of dark undertones and women owning their power, this duology played like a movie in my head.
Read on to learn how the story got started, what Emma does in her spare time, and what we can look forward to next.
content warning for q+a: depression
Q. What prompted you to begin writing the A Clan of Wolves duology?
A. I actually started writing A Clan of Wolves a year ago. I was driving to work sometime in the middle of December, and I thought of the idea during my commute while listening to music. Everything kind of took off from there, and the first draft was done in about a month. I was listening to the Evermore Album that Taylor Swift released, and the song Evermore was where the idea came from.
Q. Did you always know it would be a duology?
A. I knew it would be at least two books, but I didn’t know if it would stretch beyond that. Once I had the second book, A House of Witches, planned out, I knew that would be the last one. When I first started it, I didn’t really know exactly where it was going. I will say that anything longer than a Duology intimidated me as a first-time author.
Q. Some parts of the story brought the main character, Ingrid, to a dark place, and her memories were some of my favorite parts to read. What was it like for you to write about someone who is dealing with trauma?
A. The easy answer would be to say that I did a lot of research and tried to get into character while writing, but that wouldn’t be the honest answer. I had depression during my pregnancy with my son, and it lingered afterward as I tried to pull myself out of that hole. I work as a third-grade teacher, and people don’t realize how much of a performance teaching is. You are expected to be everything for everyone, and you have to be “on” all day. I was then coming home to my son, whom I LOVE, but I really struggled to share any of the challenges I was facing. I’m not someone who shares my innermost thoughts with others, and I’m actually very closed off. I think attaching some of the emotions I was having to a character that really wasn’t anything like me was very healing. I just multiplied the emotions by making the situations more traumatic.
Q. Are there any plans for more stories with these characters or in this world? Possibly any prequels?
A. I have been toying around with the idea of a Kai novella. Originally, I was going to include his POV throughout the story but cut all of his chapters pretty quickly. I have a really good plan for that, but I’m not sure when I would get to it. I’m currently working on a separate trilogy, and I have a completed outline for an Epic Fantasy novel.
Q. What were your favorite scenes and characters to write about?
A. I had a huge heart for Lucas and his story. I was obsessed with the scenes between Lucas and Alana in the cave, and I really loved the dynamic between the two. He was originally supposed to end up with another character, but I scrapped that idea. I then changed who he would end up with about ten times before I settled on the ending. I just loved them so much. No spoilers here, but my love for them really showed in the end.
As for just characters, Azar was by far the most fun character I have ever written. She is just so close to crazy that it was fun. I wrote a scene where she licks a knife for pretty much no reason other than intimidating people. She was just a character you could get really wild with.
Q. In your duology, witchcraft combines with ancient goddesses. Did you have to do a lot of research or are witchcraft and mythology topics you’ve always been interested in?
A. I had to research almost everything! I actually really enjoyed this part, but I’m pretty sure whatever FBI agent watches my Google history was having a panic attack daily while I was writing. Googling the aftermath of being suffocated probably set off some alarms.
Q. What does your writing practice look like? (Do you have a special place or certain music you listen, etc)
A. I listen to a lot of music while I write. This really helps me envision what I want the tone of the scene to be. For example, I mentioned Evermore inspiring a lot of A Clan of Wolves. The song is incredibly reflective, and I think that came across in Ingrid’s character and the way the story was told.
I am a big planner though. I will get an idea, and write out an outline so I know how we are getting from A to B. Before I write a chapter, I will outline it with very confusing notes and a bunch of dialogue. This makes writing the actual chapter go so much faster. I also want to know the goal of the chapter before I get into it. Is the chapter serving to develop a relationship between two characters, provide more depth with a character’s back story or development, push the plot forward, or build on the world I’ve created? I need to know the purpose before I begin, or I get lost in the sauce.
As for special location or time, I just write when I can at home. I usually write in the evenings when my son is in bed.
Q. What do you like to do when you’re not reading and writing?
A. I love going on hikes through the forest with my son, Silas. Those long walks have been my favorite, and occasionally my husband will join us. I also enjoy painting, archery, and the occasional hyper fixation hobby (making soap, making paper, crocheting, gardening, etc.).
Q. What is your favorite genre to read?
A. I really enjoy epic fantasy. I actually greatly enjoy very political plotlines with a lot of scheming, blackmailing, and a sprinkle of dragons. At least that’s what I’ve been in the mood for recently. I’ll read pretty much anything.
Q. What are your reading and writing goals for 2022?
A. I think I’m going to stick with my fifty-book reading goal this year since I was successful in 2021, and I’m all about being realistic. I’m such a mood reader that it really depends on what is going on, but I’m incredibly excited for the sequel to Fortune of Emerald and Salt by Monroe A. Wildrose, every single book K.S. Villoso has ever even considered writing, and, of course, the next Crescent City book.
Q. And lastly, what are you currently reading?
A. I’m currently reading the seventh Zodiac Academy book. I’m really rather unhinged and am certain the ending will be brutal and painful. Caroline Peckham is somewhat sadistic in the way she ends her books. Either way, I am thoroughly enjoying myself, and I would do absolutely anything for Lance Orion.
Content warning for duology: death, murder, captivity, depression/PTSD
If you or anyone you know is struggling or has concerns about their mental health, check out these resources listed on the National Institute of Mental Health website. An internet search of resources will also yield results specific to your local area.